Rogers Cup 2014: Williams Sisters Show Why Sibling Rivalry Is Still Must-See TV

Lindsay GibbsFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2014

MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 09:  (L-R) Serena Williams of the USA and Venus Williams of the USA pose before their women's semifinals match in the Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium on August 9, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The best story in sports just keeps getting better.

Nearly 30 years after they started squaring off against each other on the courts in Compton, California, and over 16 years after they first played each other on the pro tour in the second round of the Australian Open, sisters Venus and Serena Williams met again Saturday.

This, the 25th meeting in their historic rivalry, took place in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, a premier event for the WTA. Once again, this was a match that couldn't be missed. In fact, Pam Shriver on ESPN2 surmised that this might have been their best match yet.

Just like their first meeting Down Under so many years ago, this time it was Venus, the elder sister, who came out on top 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 thanks to her forceful strokes, aggressive returns and blazing winners. Unlike when they were teenagers, this was considered an upset.

Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated took a look at how the Williams Sisters got here:

As was the case in their meatiest years of their estimable careers, Venus (now 34 years old) and Serena (closing in on 33) each got this far with a combination of shotmaking and mental impregnability. [In the quarterfinals,] Serena needed three sets, but got past her friend Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. Venus followed that up by beating Carla Suarez Navarro on the same court, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. 

Though they both had rough roads to the semifinal, Serena was still the favorite. After all, she had a 14-10 lead in her head-to-head over Venus, is the No. 1 player in the world and had just come off of a title at Stanford last week, her fourth of the season.

While Serena has not been her dominant self on the big stages, falling early in all three of the majors so far in 2014, she's still the one to beat whenever she takes the court.

2009 WTA Championships.
2009 WTA Championships.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Venus, meanwhile, has struggled mightily over the past five years. Ranked No. 26 coming into this tournament, she is six years removed from her last major victory (2008 Wimbledon). In 2011, she announced that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an energy-sapping autoimmune disease that can be managed but not cured.

Before this match, many looked at the Williams Sisters rivalry as a thing of the past. After all, the sisters have only met once on tour once since the start of the 2010 season, a semifinal at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston that Serena won 6-1, 6-2. In those years, Serena has added six majors to her total tally, and her career accomplishments have far eclipsed her sister's.

It's easy to forget in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of sports that Venus has had a spectacular career in her own right.

Since 2011, Venus has been off the tour more often than not with illnesses and injuries, and she has never been able to stick around enough to really get her form back. But in the last two weeks, Venus has played eight matches, with five of them going three sets. She has amassed three top-10 wins, defeating Victoria Azarenka, Kerber and now Serena. 

"This has been an unbelievable opportunity for me to play a lot of matches," she said on court after her big semifinal win. "It just feels good just to play, and to walk out onto the court with no worries. I pray that continues for me."

With her wins this week, Venus jumped back into the top 20 and once again became the No. 2 American, right behind her sister. She also established herself as a dark horse for the U.S. Open and gave herself a chance to win her second title of the year Sunday.

Along the way, she revitalized the most incredible sibling rivalry in the world.

Venus and Serena at 2000 Wimbledon.
Venus and Serena at 2000 Wimbledon.ADAM BUTLER/Associated Press

Their match Saturday was non-stop tension and shotmaking. Venus had the early lead in the first set, but Serena clawed back and dominated the first-set tiebreak. In the second set, Venus was able to hold onto her early lead, and the third set felt truly up for grabs.

Both players were aggressive and on point, with Venus coming to net and gliding around the court like she did in her prime, and Serena serving 19 aces and pounding her forehand.

MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 09:  (L-R) Serena Williams of the USA and Venus Williams of the USA hug after the match in which Venus won during the women's semifinals match in the Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium on August 9, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Str
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

However, it was Venus who looked fresher and more focused as the match came to an end, showing that she is still one of the best players in the world when healthy. With a muted celebration after converting match point, she reveled in her biggest win in years.

The match began with Venus skipping out onto the court, high-fiving the ball kids and smiling, while Serena put on her headphones and texted on her phone, shutting out the rest of the outside world. It perfectly summed up how different these two legends are on and off the court.

Together, however, they're electric. Luckily for us, it looks like neither one of them are going anywhere any time soon.